Bleeding Hearts: Brie-Chocolate-Raspberry Hand Pies

I started out wanting to do another cutesy Valentine’s Day treat, but then I remembered that Valentine’s Day is a totally made up holiday (as all holidays are, I suppose).  And really, some people hate it.  I can’t say that’s the case for me, but I know for many, there is heart break and sorrow that goes along with this Hallmark holiday.  And you know what? They deserve a treat too.

So this Valentine’s Day, if you want to stick it to the man, make yourself these hand pies.

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It’s basically like saying F-you to sprinkles and red roses.  So go for it. And just to warn you, I’m saying F-you to the idea of having a full recipe on a blog today.  This is sort of a wing-it-non-recipe recipe. Be brave. Try it.

Brie-Chocolate-Raspberry Hand Pies

Pie Crust of your choosing (like the one here)
Brie (a few ounces)
Raspberries (a small container will do)
Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375F.

Roll out your favorite pie crust a little on the thin side (because the whole point is for the dough to crack so raspberry can seep out).  Using heart shaped cookie cutters, cut out heart shapes (or any shape you want really, if you have duckie cookie cutters, you’re awesome and you should use those).

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Spread about 1 tsp of brie (not the rind, just the center creamy part) onto the center of a heart.  The top with a few chocolate chips (maybe 6? or go crazy fit as many in there as possible), and 1 raspberry cut in half.  Obviously, how much you fit in there is going to depend on the size of your cookie cutter.  Mine was about 3 inches at the wides part of the heart.

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Place another heart on top of the brie/choco/raspberry goodness.  Use a fork and press down the edges to bind.  It’s ok if the dough cracks and breaks.  That’s kind of the point and exactly how you get the bleeding heart look. bleedinghearts3 So if your hand pies fall apart then you’re winning. Put those bad boys in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden all around. Allow to cool and serve.  With one double pie crust recipe (or a box of frozen pie crust from the store), you’ll probably get about a 2-3 dozen hand pies depending on the size of the cookie cutter.  This means you’ll need a few ounces of brie and a small pack of raspberries, in case you’re trying to estimate how much you need from my non-recipe. bleedinghearts4

Oh and if you’re going to tell me brie + chocolate sounds like a gross combo, keep the haterade to yourself.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Brie Tomato Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwich and My Top 5 Tips for the Perfect Grilled Cheese

So remember when I finished the Paleo Challenge, I learned I needed to eat actual meals instead of snacks for dinner?

Well I’m trying to get better at that.  I’ve been trying to incorporate more salads into my dinners, like the Roasted Beet Asparagus and Arugula salad in my last post.   But today and yesterday were long days.  I’ve been stressed and I’ve had a headache since I woke up today.

To remedy all that, I did two things:

1. Went to the Good Will

Thrift shops in Orange County aren’t as cheap in the song, nor are they as cheap as they were in Central NY.  But I still managed a few good finds.

thriftfinds

A tart pan for $2.50, a lovely oval shaped plate for $4.99 (over-priced in my opinion) and a cake plate for $2.50.  I also managed to find a rotating cake stand that will be great for frosting cakes.

2.  Grilled Cheese

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Let’s be more specific.  Brie Tomato Basil Grilled Cheese.

Now don’t get me wrong, traditional caprese with mozzarella is lovely, but seriously.  This sandwich is out of this world.

Last week someone asked me for tips on a good grilled cheese.  Obviously it’s all a questions of taste but here are…

My Top 5 Tips for Making the Perfect Grilled Cheese

1. Good Bread.  If your bread sucks, your grilled cheese will too.  Don’t you dare you sliced white bread.  Invest in some good bread.  I used Trader Joe’s Italian Bread.  Tasty enough.  Orange County is seriously lacking in good bread bakeries.

2. Make sure there’s cheese on both sides of the bread.  If you’re putting something other than just cheese, you need to make sure the cheese is on both sides.  The cheese is the binding agent.  If you don’t have it on both sides, it’ll all fall apart.

3.  Use Real Butter.  If you’re going to make a grilled cheese, now’s not the time to be healthy by avoiding butter.  No.  You’re choosing to make grilled cheese.  If you wanted a healthy meal, you’d make a salad.  Use butter.  It makes your bread golden, toasty and delicious.  Don’t skimp.

4. Mustard.  Unless you’re making a grilled cheese sandwich with some sort of jam, mustard almost always makes a grilled cheese taste better.  Cheese and mustard just go together.  I’m not talking about yellow mustard.  I’m talking tasty dijon-style mustard or the kind with the wonderful mustard seeds in it.  If you hate mustard, you can ignore this comment.  But if you like mustard, trust me.  Give it a try.

5. Low and slow.  Don’t turn the flame on high! Heat your pan to medium/low.  It might take a few minutes for it to get golden and for the cheese to melt, but that’s way better than a burnt piece of bread with hard cheese in the middle.  Be patient.  It’ll be tastier.

That’s pretty much there is to it.  Oh and if you use sliced Kraft American Cheese or Velveeta… You’re dead to me

Brie Tomato Basil Grilled Cheese

2 slices of amazingly tasty bread of your choice
a big pat of butter
1-2 oz brie, sliced (keep the rind! it’s tasty!)
3-4 tomato slices
1-2 basil leaves, chopped

Spread each slice of bread with butter on one side.  On the other side, layer cheese tomatoes and basil.  I try not to use too much cheese because brie is pretty strong, so I put half the cheese on one side and the bread and the other half on the opposite half of the other piece (does that make any sense?  See the pic below)

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Heat pan to medium/low heat.  Place sandwich, butter side down on pan.  Cook about 3 minutes per side or until golden all around and cheese in the center has melted.

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Serve with a bowl of soup and enjoy!  I had it with a bowl of Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup.  Tastiest soup from a box ever.  I promise!

Added bonus: This month is National Grilled Cheese Month.  I have no idea who decided that but I support, and so should you.  Eat Grilled Cheese Today!

P.S. Dunking is encouraged.

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Pear-Onion Brie Bruschetta

Happy New Year!

With the start of 2012, I’m sure everyone’s thinking about resolutions.  Most people’s are probably to exercise more or travel somewhere exotic.  For me, it’s to cook more savory dishes.  So I’m starting 2012 with a bang! (I actually made these on January 1st!)

Ok I’ll be honest.  This is only sort of savory, but it’s also a little sweet.  Caramelized onions and pears.  Naturally sweet, but perfectly balanced with salty brie.

Baby steps.

I’ll get to fully savory soon enough.  After all, I have all year.

Pear-Onion Brie Bruschetta

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
2-3 pears, diced
2-3 tsp fresh thyme
1 baguette
few ounces of Brie

Heat oil and butter together on medium.  Once oil and butter is hot, add onions and pears.  Cook until caramelized (about 30-40 minutes).  Basically you can put it in there, stir it around, leave it alone for 10 minutes, stir it, leave alone for 10 minutes, stir again, etc.

Once it’s a nice caramel color, stir in the thyme, cook for another minute and turn off the heat.  At this point you can either serve it or put it in a container to transport.  That’s really the beauty of this appetizer/snack.  You can take it anywhere.  It can be eaten hot or cold and it’s easy to assemble.

So for the assembly, cut a baguette into thin slices (about 1-2 centimeters thick? I’m bad with measurements, use your best judgement), spoon some of the onions and pears onto the bread, and top with a small slice of brie.

Serve and enjoy!  Just to note, I tried putting the brie under the pear-onion mixture but I found that it slides off more for some reason.  But if you want to put the brie under the pears and onions, go for it.

Like I said, this is perfect for any occasion.  I took it for a picnic.

You should try it too.  Feel free to make it a resolution, and by that I mean your resolution should be to eat more delicious things.